ACTION ALERT: Say NO to Genetically Engineered Alfalfa!!

From the Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network:

Hi Folks,
The Network is extremely concerned about the impacts that releasing GE alfalfa (ie. Round Up Ready Alfalfa) would have in this state.  Contamination from RRAlfalfa to organic farms could ruin the organic farming in this state.  International markets do not want genetically engineered alfalfa and would not buy Alfalfa from our Washington farmers if it was contaminated with GE alfalfa.
Against many many organizations wishes, USDA released an environmental impact statement that minimizes the damage from approving GE Alfalfa and USDA Director intends to lift the ban that currently exists on GE Alfalfa.  Senator Leahy (VT) and Representative DeFazio are circulating a congressional sign-on letter to their collegues, urging the USDA Director to maintain the ban on GE Alfalfa.

Congressman Jim McDermott is the only Congressional representative from Washington that has signed onto the letter. WE NEED YOU TO CALL YOUR CONGRESS PERSON and ask them to sign onto the letter. Please call

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621 or 206-553-5545
Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441 or 206-220-6400
Rep. Jay Inslee: 202-225-6311 or 206-361-0233
Rep. Rick Larsen: 202-225-2605 or 425-252-3188
Rep. Brian Baird: 202-225-3536 or 360-695-6292
Rep. Adam Smith: 202-225-8901 or 253-593-6600
Rep. Doc Hastings:202-225-5816 or 509-543-9396
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers: 202-225-2006 or 509-353-2374
Rep Norm Dicks: 202-225-5916 or 253-593-6536

Thanks for your help.

More information from the Organic Farmers Action Network:

Stop Genetically Engineered Alfalfa
Call your Members of Congress Today

Despite overwhelming public opposition, USDA is considering lifting the ban on genetically engineered alfalfa. Approval of GE alfalfa is likely to lead to genetic contamination of organic and non-GE alfalfa, causing economic harm to organic farmers and further reducing all farmers’ seed options.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) are circulating a Congressional ‘Dear Colleague’ letter in the House and Senate, asking USDA to maintain the ban on genetically engineered alfalfa. Contact your Members of Congress TODAY and urge them to sign onto this letter.

Contact Info

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be transferred to your Representative and Senators’ offices and ask to speak to the Agriculture Aide.
To find out who represents you, visit www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/.

Phone Rap

“Hi. I am a constituent and I am calling to urge Representative/Senator _________ to sign onto the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter circulated by Representative DeFazio and Senator Leahy. This letter calls on USDA to maintain the ban on genetically engineered alfalfa. This issue is critically important to organic farmers, as contamination from this crop may cause them irreparable economic harm. Thank you.”

Additional talking points are below. Let us know how your call went – contact Tracy Lerman, OFRF Policy Organizer: [email protected].

Background

In 2005, environmental groups successfully sued the USDA over its deregulation of genetically engineered alfalfa, arguing that USDA did not consider the environmental impacts of this crop. The courts banned GE alfalfa and ordered USDA to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, for the crop.

USDA released its draft EIS for GE alfalfa in late 2009. Their EIS admits that, if GE alfalfa is approved:

  • GE Contamination of non-GE and organic alfalfa crops will occur.
  • GE contamination will cause negative economic impacts for organic and non-GE alfalfa farmers.
  • Foreign export markets will be at risk due to rejection of GE contaminated products.
  • Farmers will be forced to use more toxic herbicides to remove old stands of alfalfa.

Unfortunately, USDA has decided that these impacts are insignificant and intends to de-regulate GE alfalfa anyway.

Tell Your Congress Member that you DO NOT support the deregulation of GE alfalfa, because:

  • GE contamination of non-GE and organic crops would be inevitable.
  • You won’t buy products that are GE-contaminated.
  • Alfalfa is a major food source for livestock. GE alfalfa would destroy the integrity of organic dairy.
  • You support rights of farmers to grow crops of their choice — GE contamination makes that impossible.
  • GE crops increase pesticide use, harming human health and the environment.

More Information

Congressional ‘Dear Colleague’ letter urging USDA to ban GE
Extensive backgrounder from the National Organic Coalition
Ten Good Reasons why GMOs are not Compatible with Organic Agriculture

Posted in Agra Watch Blog Posts, Food Justice Blog Posts, Trade Justice Blog Posts.

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